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Commonly Taken Drugs (for kidney failure)
People with kidney failure will often need to take many drugs to help keep them healthy. This page lists some of the drugs that are commonly taken and a few side effects.

Is a Vitamin D capsule. It is given to increase your blood calcium level and keep it normal. Over time this helps to keep your bones healthy. It is usually taken once a day in the morning. Side effects can include feeling sick - try taking it with food. Liquid drops are available if you have trouble swallowing, or prefer to avoid capsules that contain gelatin, for example if you are a strict vegetarian.

Is a tablet given to help to thin your blood and stop your dialysis lines or fistula becoming blocked. Some people also take aspirin for heart problems. It is normally taken once a day in the morning. Aspirin may irritate your stomach or cause indigestion; this can be reduced by taking the tablet with food and dissolving it in water before swallowing.

Belong to a group of medicines called antihistamines. They are used to reduce itching that can happen as chemicals build up in your body. There are several types available. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, if you feel drowsy do not drive or operate machinery. Chlorpheniramine (Piriton) and other antihistamines can be bought from your local pharmacy. Take care not to take twice the recommended dose ie. do not take antihistamines from your doctor and those you have bought.

Helps to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. To prevent acid indigestion or problems with stomach ulcers. It is usually taken once or twice a day. Possible side effects can include tiredness, headache and dizziness.

Is an iron tablet which can be taken to try and reduce anaemia. It is often taken three times a day. If you are taking phosphate binders or some antibiotics (check with the pharmacist) you should try and split the doses by one hour. Side effects can include constipation, diarrhea or feeling sick - try taking the tablets with food. You may notice your stools or urine becoming a darker colour; this is normal and nothing to worry about.

Are given to relieve constipation. Senna is usually taken in the evening. Lactulose can be taken twice a day. They are best taken twice a day and may take a day or so to be effective. Side effects can include belching and stomach cramps.

Reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. To prevent acid indigestion or problems with stomach ulcers. Lansoprazole should be taken first thing in the morning before breakfast. Omeprazole can be taken in the morning or evening. Side effects include diarrhea, feeling sick.

Help to reduce cholesterol levels. The tablets should be taken at bedtime. Possible side effects include headache, feeling sick and muscle pain. If you suffer from muscle pain you should tell your doctor.

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The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.